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Teckro Adds New Products Following Sky-High User Adoption
November 25, 2019
Meet Teckro: the machine-learning platform revolutionizing the way clinical trials are run. High-growth clinical trials platform Teckro added two new software products in its mission to transform the industry’s efficiency and make trials more transparent for doctors, researchers and patients. The company uses machine-learning technology to transform clinical trial protocols from static documents into actionable data for research staff, monitors and sponsors. Intuitive and simple, 91% of registered users are active on the platform. Now researchers responsible for testing new medical treatments on patients around the world can receive up-to-date study information and provide feedback to improve performance with the addition of Teckro Engage and Teckro Survey. The new functionality will build on the Teckro Search product to accelerate the speed and precision by which clinical research stakeholders can locate and distribute the right information found in current, approved documents, as well as monitor engagement and trial conduct. Teckro CEO and Co-founder Gary Hughes said: “Teckro brings simplicity to the complexity of clinical trials. The high adoption and extremely positive user feedback are unheard of for typical software companies. We are adding to the value of Teckro with the new products, which we designed to be intuitive and easy to use.” With more than 12,000 research sites using the platform - and steadily rising - Teckro holds a vast amount of valuable insight across clinical studies around the world. That volume of data will help transform what has - until now - been a painstakingly slow clinical research process, into one that is effective for every stakeholder. Dana Anderson, CCRC at North Georgia Clinical Research has been responsible for coordinating clinical trials for 18 years. She is using Teckro for a current global clinical trial and said it is making it easier to do her job as a site coordinator. “A research project involves so many stakeholders and so much paperwork. Most of the time it’s very difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for,” Anderson said. “Once I downloaded Teckro to my phone, I realized this is going to make my job much easier. It's very easy to navigate and find what information you need to retrieve from the protocol or the study design. Teckro gives us the resources that we need to make sure our data is clean and accurate. And it's nice that Teckro always will have the current amendment on there, so you know that you're following the correct protocol.” In detail, Teckro’s new products are: Teckro Engage gives study administrators a consistent way to communicate important changes, new document versions, or helpful tips to limit protocol deviation. Open rates show message effectiveness. Teckro Survey is a web-based tool for study teams to quickly design and send short surveys, making it practical to gather feedback from research staff to manage risk and improve study design. Teckro products are built on the Teckro Platform. Available through a secure mobile application or a website, Teckro doesn’t require any software installation. As a result, Teckro is operational in a matter of a couple of weeks and requires minimal user training. Business impact to date is impressive. Teckro’s own data shows that sites using Teckro screen and randomize significantly more patients compared with those without Teckro. Those sites actively searching in Teckro perform much better to meet recruitment timelines, addressing a major barrier to conducting clinical trials.
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#WorldDiabetesDay: How Clinical Research Is Revolutionizing Diabetes Treatment
November 14, 2019
Someone dies from diabetes every 8 seconds. The number of adults with diabetes has doubled in the past three decades, according to the World Health Organization. On World Diabetes Day, we'd like to highlight the importance of clinical trials for diabetic patients. Clinical research has revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. Prior to 1921 diabetes was akin to a death sentence, until Banting and Best isolated insulin for injection. Originally extracted from cows and pigs, clinical researchers went on to develop synthetic insulin by modifying bacteria to mass-produce insulin in the lab during the 1980s. Clinical trials conducted during the 1950s gave us oral hypoglycemic agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In recent years, there have been a number of exciting new developments in diabetes research: Glucose Monitoring Tattoos Scientists at Harvard and MIT are currently exploring the possibility of using tattoos to detect changes in blood sugar, reducing the need for finger-prick tests. Traditional ink would be replaced by fluorescent biosensors that change color in response to high or low blood sugar. Insulin Patches Recently, insulin patches for the treatment of diabetes have emerged from clinical trials. Insulin is delivered via a patch applied to the skin (like nicotine or contraceptive patches), removing the need to directly inject insulin. A recent study found that the patch is just as effective as insulin pens while providing a preferable delivery alternative for patients and clinicians. Light-Activated Insulin Producing Cells Researchers at Tufts University have recently transplanted engineered beta cells (insulin-producing cells of the pancreas) into diabetic mice. When exposed to light, these cells produced 2x to 3x the normal amount of insulin, allowing glucose levels to be controlled without the need for drug intervention. New Drug Targets Most recent of these innovations is the identification of the biological mechanism through which a rare mutation in the SLC30A8 gene can protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. This gene is involved in zinc transport in the body, which is important for insulin secretion. Now that we know how the mutation acts, this research potentially gives us a new target for future anti-diabetic and preventative therapies. As the exact cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown, clinical research is vital. It will allow researchers to compare and contrast patient blood glucose levels, track metabolism, monitor organ functionality in relation to medications, shape the improvement of current treatments, bring new treatments to fruition, and perhaps one day, develop a cure. Have thoughts about how clinical trials can help with the treatment of diabetes? Please email connectwithaoife@teckro.com, I'd love to hear from you!
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How to Effectively Engage Your Site Staff
October 30, 2019
At any clinical trial site, time is the most valued commodity for busy and over-burdened site staff. Communicating in a fast, effective way is key to sustaining a positive relationship with the team who is crucial in the successful delivery of your clinical trial. All of this is easier said than done, this is where site staff engagement becomes critical. What is site engagement? A good place to start is with the word engagement. This, by definition, is the creation of meaningful connections and interactions with people. Engagement is ensuring successful communication with trial sites and optimizing every interaction with your busy teams. Successful engagement should focus your awareness on an individual's behaviors and actions, based on who they are and what they do, allowing you to support them towards their goal. Who do I engage? Engage every individual. The clinical trial site team is composed of many different stakeholders or personnel. Each member of that team has their own way of communicating, their favorites and preferences. Engaging successfully does not just mean connecting with people. It requires the personalization of the message and identification of the audience to ensure that every interaction is rewarding. How do I engage? It is essential that you are aware of the needs and challenges of your staff, and that this forms the basis for your engagement and communication. While the Principal Investigator in a large research center may be interested in updates on the therapy area, other site staff in a smaller center may want succinct information to allow them to stay abreast of applicable study changes. Engage sites based on what they do. Technology now allows us to trigger communication and establish interaction based on a person's actions. Your site staff’s usage and access to study tools can dictate your engagement strategy. The timing of your communication will also be important. Take into account different time zones. For example, while a message may be received well on the East Coast of the US at midday on a Wednesday, that same message would reach a European-based site after they’ve left for the day. Deliver success for your sites Knowledge management can bring sites success. In turn, success will bring motivation and drive the overall trial experience. Knowledge delivered at the right time in the engagement process is critical to a successful interaction. We are all good at creating a contact list or sending an email to the study group email, but this is not engagement. Engagement evolves from meaningful, personal communications with your team. While it's true that creating and sustaining a successful engagement strategy with your site staff is a lot harder than simply passing on information, it's key to building effective relationships that are crucial to your clinical trial success. What strategies have you seen for effective site staff engagement? Please email connectwithbrian@teckro.com, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Teckro Announces 45 High Tech Jobs in Dublin
July 18, 2019
Main expansion is in Dublin-based Engineering Excellence Hub as Teckro heavily invests in product development to simplify and modernize clinical research  Teckro, the indigenous Irish firm transforming clinical trials for leading pharmaceutical and emerging biotech companies today officially announced 45 high-end tech jobs for Dublin, representing more than 100% growth in staff here. The company currently has more than 110 employees with offices in Limerick and the US, but the majority of the new roles will be in the company’s Engineering Excellence Hub in Dublin’s Silicon Docks. The technical jobs will span functions across engineering, data science, design and usability, quality and product management. The staff expansion follows the recent appointments of Anita Callan as Vice President of Product, most recently from Aer Lingus, and Neil Flanagan as Vice President of Engineering, previously with Munich Re to Teckro’s leadership team. Speaking at the announcement CEO and Co-Founder Gary Hughes said,  “Although technology has revolutionized so many industries, the experience of participating in a clinical trial if you are a doctor, research nurse or patient has not changed in the last two decades. The industry still heavily relies on paper and inefficient processes. At Teckro, we are on a mission to simplify the process and make clinical trials more accessible for everyone involved. We are looking for more talented people, especially in technical roles, to join us and make an impact.”  The company, founded in 2015 by brothers Gary and Nigel Hughes and CTO Jacek Skrzypiec, is currently in scale out mode. This is the second startup founded in Ireland by the Hughes brothers and Skrzypiec, whose previous business, Firecrest Clinical, was sold to Nasdaq-listed clinical research giant ICON in 2011. Teckro provides solutions to simplify and modernize clinical research for leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies, currently managing more than 100 clinical trials and actively used by more than 11,800 study sites worldwide. Earlier this year the company announced a Series C funding round from major US venture capital firms, including Founders Fund, Bill Maris’ Section 32, Borealis Ventures, Northpond Ventures and Sands Capital Ventures that brought its total funding to $43 million and making it one of the fastest growing venture-backed companies developing product in Ireland. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys welcomed the jobs saying, “It’s great to see an Irish company based in Dublin and Limerick succeed and grow internationally, especially one with a mission that will ultimately benefit patients and healthcare professionals in research to address global health problems. These 45 new tech jobs will play an important role for Teckro to deliver solutions from Ireland that will improve the clinical trial process throughout the world. This is another great example of how our SMEs are investing in new technologies, which is an important element in our Future Jobs Ireland strategy.”
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Teckro Raises $25 Million Series C Round to Speed up Clinical Trials
February 14, 2019
Teckro is a technology platform that makes the conduct of clinical trials simple, more transparent and more inclusive for doctors, research nurses and patients  Teckro’s total funding rises to $43 million to date from the likes of Northpond Ventures, Founders Fund and Bill Maris’ Section 32  Teckro has raised a fresh round of funding to accelerate its international expansion and product development. The $25 million Series C round was led by Northpond Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, Sands Capital Ventures, Bill Maris’ Section 32 venture fund, and Borealis Ventures. Teckro’s total funding now stands at $43 million. The company provides technology to improve the speed and accuracy of clinical trials, working with the top pharmaceutical and biotech companies globally. Teckro has grown rapidly since it was founded by brothers Gary and Nigel Hughes and Jacek Skrzypiec in 2015. The founders sold their previous company, Firecrest, to global clinical research giant ICON plc in 2011. Teckro is used in clinical research sites around the world in all major countries. There has been a 240% increase in the number of clinical trials on the Teckro platform over the past 12 months. The company employs more than 100 staff across its three global bases, including its global headquarters in Limerick, Ireland, its engineering hub in Dublin, Ireland and its US office in Nashville, Tennessee.  Speaking on the funding announcement, CEO and co-founder Gary Hughes said the company will use the Series C round to further the company’s mission to deliver solutions that deliver meaningfully impact and improve processes for all stakeholders involved in clinical trials. “Despite all the talk of digital transformation, the actual experience of participating in a clinical trial if you are a doctor, research nurse or patient has changed little in the last 20 years. The industry still relies heavily on paper, on working off retrospective data, and there is still an over-reliance on sending CRAs to busy research sites. This approach, together with the plethora of point solutions that get ‘bolted on’, only adds to the complexity and disjointed experience of research sites and patients. Our vision is to be at the center of all site and patient interactions in a clinical trial. We are building a new digital infrastructure and toolset for clinical research that makes the conduct of trials simpler, more transparent and more inclusive. Ultimately Teckro is about ensuring that effective drugs are efficiently and effectively moved from the lab to the patient so that lives be saved.” Michael Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Northpond Ventures commented: “Teckro is building a digital infrastructure that can transform how clinical trials are conducted. We are excited by the team and what they have achieved to date and look forward to supporting them on this important mission.”
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The Trouble with Clinical Trials: Getting Rid of Zombies
November 19, 2019
New medicines are becoming increasingly complex to develop. As a result, clinical development is taking 25% longer and the chance of a new medicinal product getting market approval is half of what it was a decade ago. Much of this is reflected in the way clinical trials are performed, with a 10% annual increase in the number and variety of procedures required. Thus, the burden on investigators and trial sites is steadily becoming heavier. In most aspects of our lives, the internet has enabled us to rapidly access information. In particular, smartphones allow us to search and retrieve almost any information that we need “on the fly.” We book our flights and hotels, make restaurant reservations and communicate with our families on our phones. Who uses, or even possesses, a telephone directory anymore? However, a zombie-like relic of the telephone directory still lives on in clinical trials. It’s called the protocol, which: Is almost always a weighty document of perhaps 150 densely printed pages. Must only be used in its currently approved version, so it may need to be changed half a dozen times during the life of a trial. Each amendment must be approved for every individual site. Usually lives on a shelf in an office, often remote from where it is most needed in the clinical area in which its trial is being conducted. Is slow to search for information, especially if not immediately to hand. If it does have an electronic existence, it is usually as a PDF document which is hard to search in a hurry. The protocol hasn’t changed in any significant way for 40 years. It is no surprise that about 35% of adverse findings of FDA inspections are related to non-compliance with the protocol. This is not a harmless zombie! There are many examples to illustrate why printed protocols have outlived their utility. For example, typical oncology sites outside of the major centers may run about a dozen different trials at one time. It is a big ask to expect an investigator to remember the detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria for each one when they sit in-clinic seeing their patients. Their time constraints mean that they have only a few minutes to consider whether any patient in particular might qualify for one of these trials. They are unlikely to rummage through a dozen protocols to check. They may refer to a “cheat sheet” with the criteria listed. Are they sure it’s from the current protocol version? It’s easier to procrastinate and move along to the next patient waiting in line outside their office. Another possible trial participant misses out. Another example illustrates how adverse effects don’t respect office hours. Consider the following scenario. Its 8 p.m. on a Friday. A study coordinator in an Immuno-oncology study is about to sit down to dinner in a restaurant. A study participant phones urgently to report sudden onset bloody diarrhea and is desperate to know what to do. The protocol copy is two miles away. How will the coordinator instruct the participant exactly according to protocol? Do we expect them to recall precisely what the protocol says, or will they set off to consult it? Or will they just try to remember and hope that they are correct? It is vital that the right advice is given if the safety of the participant and the integrity of the trial are to be preserved. To effectively deal with the many weaknesses of relying on printed protocols that live on office shelves, we need to bring the whole process into the 21st century. Just as we have with almost all ways that we seek and find information in every other aspect of our lives. Do you have any other examples of how today’s paper protocol hinders clinical trial success? I’d like to hear them – you can email me at connectwithbrendan@teckro.com.  
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#STEMDay “Never Stop Being Curious”
November 08, 2019
The lack of women today in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs is a problem. We believe with more role models and positive examples of women succeeding in technical roles, we can change this. To honor STEM Day, we spoke with Teckro Director of Clinical Operations Cayce Drobek about why she pursued a STEM career and her advice to encourage more girls into fields of science and technology. By way of background, Cayce studied at Middle Tennessee State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mental health and biology. She went on to complete two master’s degrees, one in microbiology and a second in clinical research. Cayce has more than 12 years of professional experience in clinical research, working on numerous Phase I-IV trials. In addition, Cayce also worked with multiple contract research organizations (CROs) and investigative clinical trial sites, and she is a Certified Clinical Research Associate. Now, Cayce is applying her domain expertise at Teckro, where among other roles she has managed teams responsible for the quality and accuracy of the clinical research content in the product. Cayce, what first prompted you to go into a technical role? I have always been drawn towards science, math and technology. I have always been a very curious individual with a strong desire to constantly increase my knowledge. Even as a young child, I loved playing with my microscope and was always conducting experiments in the hope of making exciting new discoveries. I still love conducting experiments, trying new things, and making discoveries to solve everyday challenges in my personal and professional life. Because of my passion for science, I studied biology as an undergraduate, and then microbiology in graduate school.  While in school, I worked as a study coordinator for obstetrics and neonatology trials.  In this role, I experienced many of the common clinical trial challenges that site staff face every day. I ultimately developed and rolled out new processes at the research center with the help of technology to reduce some of the burdens on the staff. I’ve worked with multiple technology systems in my years in clinical research roles. While many of these technologies were aimed at reducing my day to day work-related burdens, there was still a need for simplification. This is Teckro’s mission, and I wanted to be a part of a solution that could really simplify how trials are conducted. Did you have any special encouragement, or role models when you started out? My mother is the primary reason for me pursuing a career in clinical research.  While I was in graduate school, she unfortunately was diagnosed with cancer. Caring for a loved one with cancer was extremely difficult. Thankfully, after participating in a clinical trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, my mother had complete remission. I was so grateful that she had this opportunity and I’m now extremely motivated and passionate about being a patient advocate. I work to make these types of clinical trial opportunities available not only for those who have cancer but for all types of diseases and disorders. What does a career in a STEM field mean to you? Science is not just a job; it is a passion. If your career is something you enjoy doing, you will lead a happier and more productive life. Working in a STEM field provides me with the thrill of new, exciting discoveries. It allows me to travel the world solving global challenges. It gives me broad, marketable skills. And I believe it increases my career opportunities, not just in biology or clinical trial-specific roles but in also roles for technology companies who need clinical trials subject matter experts. I’ve become a better problem solver and gained a better understanding of how things work. And not least of all, it’s fun! What advice would you give to young women considering a STEM career? Never stop being curious! For young women interested in pursuing a professional degree and career in a STEM field, I would recommend starting off by doing some independent research into what education and opportunities are available. You can also join organizations that advocate for girls and women in STEM, such as those listed on Girls Who STEM. One of my favorite quotes is from Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut to travel into space: "Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” We are naturally born with a desire to understand how and why things happen the way they do. This desire drives us towards science, which provides us the path to illumination of the many mysteries of the universe.
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On a Mission to Modernize and Simplify Clinical Research 
October 08, 2019
In the world of design, simplicity is achieved by removing, rather than adding more. The most elegant designs are those where there is nothing left to take away. Yet, a simple design is anything but simple to achieve as it requires a deep understanding of the purpose for the design.  At Teckro, we are applying the same concept of design simplicity to address today’s broken clinical trial process. You don’t have to look hard to find staggering evidence of how the industry is in desperate need of simplification. While there is nearly a three-fold increase in the number of trials just in the last 10 years, the practices to run a clinical trial haven’t changed in decades.  And while there are more trials, success rates aren’t necessarily improving. It is estimated that less than half of Phase II trials have successful outcomes. Of course, there are safety and scientific reasons that studies fail, which is the nature of clinical research. Our concerns are the avoidable blocking factors that stand in the way of success, such as too much paper, inconsistent communication, or a general lack of visibility into what’s going on with the study.  In today’s digital world, it is hard to believe that the primary interface for most clinical trials is a paper document or a PDF file that resides somewhere on a portal. Not only are these solutions impractical, they increase, rather than decrease, the interaction cost for busy site staff to fully engage with the trial. Unfortunately, the statistics reflect this with 40% of sites under recruiting and 80% of clinical trials failing to meet recruitment timelines.  Physicians have only minutes with each patient, and even less time to consider eligibility for a clinical trial. Yet, the protocol is rarely available where the patient is. These challenges of time and access extend beyond patient recruitment to all aspects of clinical trial compliance, including patient safety and toxicity management. The need for instant, reliable answers is paramount. At Teckro, we asked ourselves what can we take away to simplify clinical research? We’ve identified three key areas where we can modernize and simplify how things are done today so we can help protect patient safety and improve study quality:  Make all current, approved study information securely accessible in seconds anytime, anywhere through a smartphone or web-enabled device.  Create a secure, real-time digital connection to every stakeholder so that critical information and communication can be targeted to the right people at the right time.  Provide actionable insights into study performance so that issues can be detected sooner and proactively addressed.  By tackling these three areas, Teckro is bridging the gap between site staff and sponsors with a single platform. The focus is simplification. To design the most useful solutions possible, we spend countless hours of research and interviews to really understand the jobs that our users need to do.  Out of this deep understanding, we have solutions that make the process more transparent. Depending on the user, the questions are different. Site staff need quick answers to whether patients are eligible for a study, how to conduct a procedure, or how to manage an adverse event. Sponsors want to understand site engagement and whether there are early indications of any issues with the protocol or patient safety. All study stakeholders can use Teckro to find an answer to their study questions. Our corporate video provides a good explanation. By tackling complexity in clinical research, more sites will be engaged, their participation will be more successful, and they will extend access to more patients around the world. What do you think about our approach to simplicity? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at connectwithgary@teckro.com. 
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Teckro Expands Leadership Team
July 02, 2019
Founders Fund-backed company announces 5 senior hires with domain experience from publicly traded companies including Veeva Systems, Salesforce, ICON and Munich Re Teckro, the company transforming clinical trials for the world’s leading pharmaceutical and emerging biotech firms, today announced five significant appointments to its leadership team as it executes aggressive go-to-market and product strategies. The hires follow Teckro’s Series C funding announcement in February, featuring investment from major US venture capital firms, including Founders Fund, Bill Maris’ Section 32, Borealis Ventures, Northpond Ventures and Sands Capital Ventures. To date, Teckro has raised $43 million, with the latest round of $25 million earmarked for scale-up activities to accelerate growth and meet a sharp increase in demand from pharmaceutical and biotech companies looking to simplify and modernize clinical trials with Teckro. Speaking on the appointments to the leadership team, Teckro CEO and co-founder Gary Hughes said, “Every clinical trial starts with a question. At Teckro, we believe that finding answers should be simple for all study stakeholders anytime, anywhere. The new leadership appointments are important as we continue to expand our product and commercial strategies. I am delighted to have this group of seasoned professionals from established public companies join Teckro on our mission to simplify and modernize clinical research.” Teckro’s new hires bring vast experience across domains, including medical affairs, commercial and engineering: Professor Brendan Buckley, Chief Medical Officer With more than four decades in academic clinical practice, Buckley brings extensive experience as a senior clinical investigator. Buckley has served in several independent regulatory roles in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Irish competent authority. With more than 150 scientific papers published, Buckley also authored the recent opinion-leading book Re-Engineering Clinical Trials. From 2011-2017, Buckley served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of ICON, one of the world’s largest clinical research organizations. Kelly Brown, Chief Marketing Officer and Sandra Blaser, VP of Services & Success Also joining Teckro from global life science software giant Veeva Systems are Kelly Brown and Sandra Blaser as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Services & Success, respectively. Brown, previously VP of Marketing in Europe at Veeva, brings more than a decade of experience in the technology sector, including an 11-year stint at EMC (now Dell EMC). Early in her career, Blaser was one of first European employees at Salesforce and served as its first-ever customer success manager in the region. Before joining Teckro, Blaser spent more than five years at Veeva where she managed the customer success team in Europe. Anita Callan, VP of Product and Neil Flanagan, VP of Engineering On the technical side, Teckro bolsters its team with two seasoned professionals, Anita Callan and Neil Flanagan, who collectively will use their vast experience to ensure Teckro’s products meet and exceed customer expectations. Callan joins as Vice President of Product, most recently working at Aer Lingus where she held product and content strategy positions. Flanagan joins as Teckro Vice President of Engineering with extensive experience in building and running highly scalable technology teams. Prior to Teckro, Flanagan most recently was Head of Digital Operations at Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies. Collectively, these new leaders are instrumental in Teckro’s mission to simplify and modernize clinical research. Demand is strong as the number of trials on Teckro has more than tripled over the past couple of years. Today, more than active 11,800 study sites use Teckro in all major countries around the world. Equally important, user adoption of Teckro is high, with more than 90% of registered users active on the platform.
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Teckro Adds New Products Following Sky-High User Adoption
November 25, 2019
Meet Teckro: the machine-learning platform revolutionizing the way clinical trials are run. High-growth clinical trials platform Teckro added two new software products in its mission to transform the industry’s efficiency and make trials more transparent for doctors, researchers and patients. The company uses machine-learning technology to transform clinical trial protocols from static documents into actionable data for research staff, monitors and sponsors. Intuitive and simple, 91% of registered users are active on the platform. Now researchers responsible for testing new medical treatments on patients around the world can receive up-to-date study information and provide feedback to improve performance with the addition of Teckro Engage and Teckro Survey. The new functionality will build on the Teckro Search product to accelerate the speed and precision by which clinical research stakeholders can locate and distribute the right information found in current, approved documents, as well as monitor engagement and trial conduct. Teckro CEO and Co-founder Gary Hughes said: “Teckro brings simplicity to the complexity of clinical trials. The high adoption and extremely positive user feedback are unheard of for typical software companies. We are adding to the value of Teckro with the new products, which we designed to be intuitive and easy to use.” With more than 12,000 research sites using the platform - and steadily rising - Teckro holds a vast amount of valuable insight across clinical studies around the world. That volume of data will help transform what has - until now - been a painstakingly slow clinical research process, into one that is effective for every stakeholder. Dana Anderson, CCRC at North Georgia Clinical Research has been responsible for coordinating clinical trials for 18 years. She is using Teckro for a current global clinical trial and said it is making it easier to do her job as a site coordinator. “A research project involves so many stakeholders and so much paperwork. Most of the time it’s very difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for,” Anderson said. “Once I downloaded Teckro to my phone, I realized this is going to make my job much easier. It's very easy to navigate and find what information you need to retrieve from the protocol or the study design. Teckro gives us the resources that we need to make sure our data is clean and accurate. And it's nice that Teckro always will have the current amendment on there, so you know that you're following the correct protocol.” In detail, Teckro’s new products are: Teckro Engage gives study administrators a consistent way to communicate important changes, new document versions, or helpful tips to limit protocol deviation. Open rates show message effectiveness. Teckro Survey is a web-based tool for study teams to quickly design and send short surveys, making it practical to gather feedback from research staff to manage risk and improve study design. Teckro products are built on the Teckro Platform. Available through a secure mobile application or a website, Teckro doesn’t require any software installation. As a result, Teckro is operational in a matter of a couple of weeks and requires minimal user training. Business impact to date is impressive. Teckro’s own data shows that sites using Teckro screen and randomize significantly more patients compared with those without Teckro. Those sites actively searching in Teckro perform much better to meet recruitment timelines, addressing a major barrier to conducting clinical trials.
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#STEMDay “Never Stop Being Curious”
November 08, 2019
The lack of women today in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs is a problem. We believe with more role models and positive examples of women succeeding in technical roles, we can change this. To honor STEM Day, we spoke with Teckro Director of Clinical Operations Cayce Drobek about why she pursued a STEM career and her advice to encourage more girls into fields of science and technology. By way of background, Cayce studied at Middle Tennessee State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mental health and biology. She went on to complete two master’s degrees, one in microbiology and a second in clinical research. Cayce has more than 12 years of professional experience in clinical research, working on numerous Phase I-IV trials. In addition, Cayce also worked with multiple contract research organizations (CROs) and investigative clinical trial sites, and she is a Certified Clinical Research Associate. Now, Cayce is applying her domain expertise at Teckro, where among other roles she has managed teams responsible for the quality and accuracy of the clinical research content in the product. Cayce, what first prompted you to go into a technical role? I have always been drawn towards science, math and technology. I have always been a very curious individual with a strong desire to constantly increase my knowledge. Even as a young child, I loved playing with my microscope and was always conducting experiments in the hope of making exciting new discoveries. I still love conducting experiments, trying new things, and making discoveries to solve everyday challenges in my personal and professional life. Because of my passion for science, I studied biology as an undergraduate, and then microbiology in graduate school.  While in school, I worked as a study coordinator for obstetrics and neonatology trials.  In this role, I experienced many of the common clinical trial challenges that site staff face every day. I ultimately developed and rolled out new processes at the research center with the help of technology to reduce some of the burdens on the staff. I’ve worked with multiple technology systems in my years in clinical research roles. While many of these technologies were aimed at reducing my day to day work-related burdens, there was still a need for simplification. This is Teckro’s mission, and I wanted to be a part of a solution that could really simplify how trials are conducted. Did you have any special encouragement, or role models when you started out? My mother is the primary reason for me pursuing a career in clinical research.  While I was in graduate school, she unfortunately was diagnosed with cancer. Caring for a loved one with cancer was extremely difficult. Thankfully, after participating in a clinical trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, my mother had complete remission. I was so grateful that she had this opportunity and I’m now extremely motivated and passionate about being a patient advocate. I work to make these types of clinical trial opportunities available not only for those who have cancer but for all types of diseases and disorders. What does a career in a STEM field mean to you? Science is not just a job; it is a passion. If your career is something you enjoy doing, you will lead a happier and more productive life. Working in a STEM field provides me with the thrill of new, exciting discoveries. It allows me to travel the world solving global challenges. It gives me broad, marketable skills. And I believe it increases my career opportunities, not just in biology or clinical trial-specific roles but in also roles for technology companies who need clinical trials subject matter experts. I’ve become a better problem solver and gained a better understanding of how things work. And not least of all, it’s fun! What advice would you give to young women considering a STEM career? Never stop being curious! For young women interested in pursuing a professional degree and career in a STEM field, I would recommend starting off by doing some independent research into what education and opportunities are available. You can also join organizations that advocate for girls and women in STEM, such as those listed on Girls Who STEM. One of my favorite quotes is from Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut to travel into space: "Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” We are naturally born with a desire to understand how and why things happen the way they do. This desire drives us towards science, which provides us the path to illumination of the many mysteries of the universe.
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Teckro Announces 45 High Tech Jobs in Dublin
July 18, 2019
Main expansion is in Dublin-based Engineering Excellence Hub as Teckro heavily invests in product development to simplify and modernize clinical research  Teckro, the indigenous Irish firm transforming clinical trials for leading pharmaceutical and emerging biotech companies today officially announced 45 high-end tech jobs for Dublin, representing more than 100% growth in staff here. The company currently has more than 110 employees with offices in Limerick and the US, but the majority of the new roles will be in the company’s Engineering Excellence Hub in Dublin’s Silicon Docks. The technical jobs will span functions across engineering, data science, design and usability, quality and product management. The staff expansion follows the recent appointments of Anita Callan as Vice President of Product, most recently from Aer Lingus, and Neil Flanagan as Vice President of Engineering, previously with Munich Re to Teckro’s leadership team. Speaking at the announcement CEO and Co-Founder Gary Hughes said,  “Although technology has revolutionized so many industries, the experience of participating in a clinical trial if you are a doctor, research nurse or patient has not changed in the last two decades. The industry still heavily relies on paper and inefficient processes. At Teckro, we are on a mission to simplify the process and make clinical trials more accessible for everyone involved. We are looking for more talented people, especially in technical roles, to join us and make an impact.”  The company, founded in 2015 by brothers Gary and Nigel Hughes and CTO Jacek Skrzypiec, is currently in scale out mode. This is the second startup founded in Ireland by the Hughes brothers and Skrzypiec, whose previous business, Firecrest Clinical, was sold to Nasdaq-listed clinical research giant ICON in 2011. Teckro provides solutions to simplify and modernize clinical research for leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies, currently managing more than 100 clinical trials and actively used by more than 11,800 study sites worldwide. Earlier this year the company announced a Series C funding round from major US venture capital firms, including Founders Fund, Bill Maris’ Section 32, Borealis Ventures, Northpond Ventures and Sands Capital Ventures that brought its total funding to $43 million and making it one of the fastest growing venture-backed companies developing product in Ireland. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys welcomed the jobs saying, “It’s great to see an Irish company based in Dublin and Limerick succeed and grow internationally, especially one with a mission that will ultimately benefit patients and healthcare professionals in research to address global health problems. These 45 new tech jobs will play an important role for Teckro to deliver solutions from Ireland that will improve the clinical trial process throughout the world. This is another great example of how our SMEs are investing in new technologies, which is an important element in our Future Jobs Ireland strategy.”
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The Trouble with Clinical Trials: Getting Rid of Zombies
November 19, 2019
New medicines are becoming increasingly complex to develop. As a result, clinical development is taking 25% longer and the chance of a new medicinal product getting market approval is half of what it was a decade ago. Much of this is reflected in the way clinical trials are performed, with a 10% annual increase in the number and variety of procedures required. Thus, the burden on investigators and trial sites is steadily becoming heavier. In most aspects of our lives, the internet has enabled us to rapidly access information. In particular, smartphones allow us to search and retrieve almost any information that we need “on the fly.” We book our flights and hotels, make restaurant reservations and communicate with our families on our phones. Who uses, or even possesses, a telephone directory anymore? However, a zombie-like relic of the telephone directory still lives on in clinical trials. It’s called the protocol, which: Is almost always a weighty document of perhaps 150 densely printed pages. Must only be used in its currently approved version, so it may need to be changed half a dozen times during the life of a trial. Each amendment must be approved for every individual site. Usually lives on a shelf in an office, often remote from where it is most needed in the clinical area in which its trial is being conducted. Is slow to search for information, especially if not immediately to hand. If it does have an electronic existence, it is usually as a PDF document which is hard to search in a hurry. The protocol hasn’t changed in any significant way for 40 years. It is no surprise that about 35% of adverse findings of FDA inspections are related to non-compliance with the protocol. This is not a harmless zombie! There are many examples to illustrate why printed protocols have outlived their utility. For example, typical oncology sites outside of the major centers may run about a dozen different trials at one time. It is a big ask to expect an investigator to remember the detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria for each one when they sit in-clinic seeing their patients. Their time constraints mean that they have only a few minutes to consider whether any patient in particular might qualify for one of these trials. They are unlikely to rummage through a dozen protocols to check. They may refer to a “cheat sheet” with the criteria listed. Are they sure it’s from the current protocol version? It’s easier to procrastinate and move along to the next patient waiting in line outside their office. Another possible trial participant misses out. Another example illustrates how adverse effects don’t respect office hours. Consider the following scenario. Its 8 p.m. on a Friday. A study coordinator in an Immuno-oncology study is about to sit down to dinner in a restaurant. A study participant phones urgently to report sudden onset bloody diarrhea and is desperate to know what to do. The protocol copy is two miles away. How will the coordinator instruct the participant exactly according to protocol? Do we expect them to recall precisely what the protocol says, or will they set off to consult it? Or will they just try to remember and hope that they are correct? It is vital that the right advice is given if the safety of the participant and the integrity of the trial are to be preserved. To effectively deal with the many weaknesses of relying on printed protocols that live on office shelves, we need to bring the whole process into the 21st century. Just as we have with almost all ways that we seek and find information in every other aspect of our lives. Do you have any other examples of how today’s paper protocol hinders clinical trial success? I’d like to hear them – you can email me at connectwithbrendan@teckro.com.  
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How to Effectively Engage Your Site Staff
October 30, 2019
At any clinical trial site, time is the most valued commodity for busy and over-burdened site staff. Communicating in a fast, effective way is key to sustaining a positive relationship with the team who is crucial in the successful delivery of your clinical trial. All of this is easier said than done, this is where site staff engagement becomes critical. What is site engagement? A good place to start is with the word engagement. This, by definition, is the creation of meaningful connections and interactions with people. Engagement is ensuring successful communication with trial sites and optimizing every interaction with your busy teams. Successful engagement should focus your awareness on an individual's behaviors and actions, based on who they are and what they do, allowing you to support them towards their goal. Who do I engage? Engage every individual. The clinical trial site team is composed of many different stakeholders or personnel. Each member of that team has their own way of communicating, their favorites and preferences. Engaging successfully does not just mean connecting with people. It requires the personalization of the message and identification of the audience to ensure that every interaction is rewarding. How do I engage? It is essential that you are aware of the needs and challenges of your staff, and that this forms the basis for your engagement and communication. While the Principal Investigator in a large research center may be interested in updates on the therapy area, other site staff in a smaller center may want succinct information to allow them to stay abreast of applicable study changes. Engage sites based on what they do. Technology now allows us to trigger communication and establish interaction based on a person's actions. Your site staff’s usage and access to study tools can dictate your engagement strategy. The timing of your communication will also be important. Take into account different time zones. For example, while a message may be received well on the East Coast of the US at midday on a Wednesday, that same message would reach a European-based site after they’ve left for the day. Deliver success for your sites Knowledge management can bring sites success. In turn, success will bring motivation and drive the overall trial experience. Knowledge delivered at the right time in the engagement process is critical to a successful interaction. We are all good at creating a contact list or sending an email to the study group email, but this is not engagement. Engagement evolves from meaningful, personal communications with your team. While it's true that creating and sustaining a successful engagement strategy with your site staff is a lot harder than simply passing on information, it's key to building effective relationships that are crucial to your clinical trial success. What strategies have you seen for effective site staff engagement? Please email connectwithbrian@teckro.com, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Teckro Expands Leadership Team
July 02, 2019
Founders Fund-backed company announces 5 senior hires with domain experience from publicly traded companies including Veeva Systems, Salesforce, ICON and Munich Re Teckro, the company transforming clinical trials for the world’s leading pharmaceutical and emerging biotech firms, today announced five significant appointments to its leadership team as it executes aggressive go-to-market and product strategies. The hires follow Teckro’s Series C funding announcement in February, featuring investment from major US venture capital firms, including Founders Fund, Bill Maris’ Section 32, Borealis Ventures, Northpond Ventures and Sands Capital Ventures. To date, Teckro has raised $43 million, with the latest round of $25 million earmarked for scale-up activities to accelerate growth and meet a sharp increase in demand from pharmaceutical and biotech companies looking to simplify and modernize clinical trials with Teckro. Speaking on the appointments to the leadership team, Teckro CEO and co-founder Gary Hughes said, “Every clinical trial starts with a question. At Teckro, we believe that finding answers should be simple for all study stakeholders anytime, anywhere. The new leadership appointments are important as we continue to expand our product and commercial strategies. I am delighted to have this group of seasoned professionals from established public companies join Teckro on our mission to simplify and modernize clinical research.” Teckro’s new hires bring vast experience across domains, including medical affairs, commercial and engineering: Professor Brendan Buckley, Chief Medical Officer With more than four decades in academic clinical practice, Buckley brings extensive experience as a senior clinical investigator. Buckley has served in several independent regulatory roles in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Irish competent authority. With more than 150 scientific papers published, Buckley also authored the recent opinion-leading book Re-Engineering Clinical Trials. From 2011-2017, Buckley served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of ICON, one of the world’s largest clinical research organizations. Kelly Brown, Chief Marketing Officer and Sandra Blaser, VP of Services & Success Also joining Teckro from global life science software giant Veeva Systems are Kelly Brown and Sandra Blaser as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Services & Success, respectively. Brown, previously VP of Marketing in Europe at Veeva, brings more than a decade of experience in the technology sector, including an 11-year stint at EMC (now Dell EMC). Early in her career, Blaser was one of first European employees at Salesforce and served as its first-ever customer success manager in the region. Before joining Teckro, Blaser spent more than five years at Veeva where she managed the customer success team in Europe. Anita Callan, VP of Product and Neil Flanagan, VP of Engineering On the technical side, Teckro bolsters its team with two seasoned professionals, Anita Callan and Neil Flanagan, who collectively will use their vast experience to ensure Teckro’s products meet and exceed customer expectations. Callan joins as Vice President of Product, most recently working at Aer Lingus where she held product and content strategy positions. Flanagan joins as Teckro Vice President of Engineering with extensive experience in building and running highly scalable technology teams. Prior to Teckro, Flanagan most recently was Head of Digital Operations at Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies. Collectively, these new leaders are instrumental in Teckro’s mission to simplify and modernize clinical research. Demand is strong as the number of trials on Teckro has more than tripled over the past couple of years. Today, more than active 11,800 study sites use Teckro in all major countries around the world. Equally important, user adoption of Teckro is high, with more than 90% of registered users active on the platform.
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#WorldDiabetesDay: How Clinical Research Is Revolutionizing Diabetes Treatment
November 14, 2019
Someone dies from diabetes every 8 seconds. The number of adults with diabetes has doubled in the past three decades, according to the World Health Organization. On World Diabetes Day, we'd like to highlight the importance of clinical trials for diabetic patients. Clinical research has revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. Prior to 1921 diabetes was akin to a death sentence, until Banting and Best isolated insulin for injection. Originally extracted from cows and pigs, clinical researchers went on to develop synthetic insulin by modifying bacteria to mass-produce insulin in the lab during the 1980s. Clinical trials conducted during the 1950s gave us oral hypoglycemic agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In recent years, there have been a number of exciting new developments in diabetes research: Glucose Monitoring Tattoos Scientists at Harvard and MIT are currently exploring the possibility of using tattoos to detect changes in blood sugar, reducing the need for finger-prick tests. Traditional ink would be replaced by fluorescent biosensors that change color in response to high or low blood sugar. Insulin Patches Recently, insulin patches for the treatment of diabetes have emerged from clinical trials. Insulin is delivered via a patch applied to the skin (like nicotine or contraceptive patches), removing the need to directly inject insulin. A recent study found that the patch is just as effective as insulin pens while providing a preferable delivery alternative for patients and clinicians. Light-Activated Insulin Producing Cells Researchers at Tufts University have recently transplanted engineered beta cells (insulin-producing cells of the pancreas) into diabetic mice. When exposed to light, these cells produced 2x to 3x the normal amount of insulin, allowing glucose levels to be controlled without the need for drug intervention. New Drug Targets Most recent of these innovations is the identification of the biological mechanism through which a rare mutation in the SLC30A8 gene can protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. This gene is involved in zinc transport in the body, which is important for insulin secretion. Now that we know how the mutation acts, this research potentially gives us a new target for future anti-diabetic and preventative therapies. As the exact cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown, clinical research is vital. It will allow researchers to compare and contrast patient blood glucose levels, track metabolism, monitor organ functionality in relation to medications, shape the improvement of current treatments, bring new treatments to fruition, and perhaps one day, develop a cure. Have thoughts about how clinical trials can help with the treatment of diabetes? Please email connectwithaoife@teckro.com, I'd love to hear from you!
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On a Mission to Modernize and Simplify Clinical Research 
October 08, 2019
In the world of design, simplicity is achieved by removing, rather than adding more. The most elegant designs are those where there is nothing left to take away. Yet, a simple design is anything but simple to achieve as it requires a deep understanding of the purpose for the design.  At Teckro, we are applying the same concept of design simplicity to address today’s broken clinical trial process. You don’t have to look hard to find staggering evidence of how the industry is in desperate need of simplification. While there is nearly a three-fold increase in the number of trials just in the last 10 years, the practices to run a clinical trial haven’t changed in decades.  And while there are more trials, success rates aren’t necessarily improving. It is estimated that less than half of Phase II trials have successful outcomes. Of course, there are safety and scientific reasons that studies fail, which is the nature of clinical research. Our concerns are the avoidable blocking factors that stand in the way of success, such as too much paper, inconsistent communication, or a general lack of visibility into what’s going on with the study.  In today’s digital world, it is hard to believe that the primary interface for most clinical trials is a paper document or a PDF file that resides somewhere on a portal. Not only are these solutions impractical, they increase, rather than decrease, the interaction cost for busy site staff to fully engage with the trial. Unfortunately, the statistics reflect this with 40% of sites under recruiting and 80% of clinical trials failing to meet recruitment timelines.  Physicians have only minutes with each patient, and even less time to consider eligibility for a clinical trial. Yet, the protocol is rarely available where the patient is. These challenges of time and access extend beyond patient recruitment to all aspects of clinical trial compliance, including patient safety and toxicity management. The need for instant, reliable answers is paramount. At Teckro, we asked ourselves what can we take away to simplify clinical research? We’ve identified three key areas where we can modernize and simplify how things are done today so we can help protect patient safety and improve study quality:  Make all current, approved study information securely accessible in seconds anytime, anywhere through a smartphone or web-enabled device.  Create a secure, real-time digital connection to every stakeholder so that critical information and communication can be targeted to the right people at the right time.  Provide actionable insights into study performance so that issues can be detected sooner and proactively addressed.  By tackling these three areas, Teckro is bridging the gap between site staff and sponsors with a single platform. The focus is simplification. To design the most useful solutions possible, we spend countless hours of research and interviews to really understand the jobs that our users need to do.  Out of this deep understanding, we have solutions that make the process more transparent. Depending on the user, the questions are different. Site staff need quick answers to whether patients are eligible for a study, how to conduct a procedure, or how to manage an adverse event. Sponsors want to understand site engagement and whether there are early indications of any issues with the protocol or patient safety. All study stakeholders can use Teckro to find an answer to their study questions. Our corporate video provides a good explanation. By tackling complexity in clinical research, more sites will be engaged, their participation will be more successful, and they will extend access to more patients around the world. What do you think about our approach to simplicity? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at connectwithgary@teckro.com. 
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Teckro Raises $25 Million Series C Round to Speed up Clinical Trials
February 14, 2019
Teckro is a technology platform that makes the conduct of clinical trials simple, more transparent and more inclusive for doctors, research nurses and patients  Teckro’s total funding rises to $43 million to date from the likes of Northpond Ventures, Founders Fund and Bill Maris’ Section 32  Teckro has raised a fresh round of funding to accelerate its international expansion and product development. The $25 million Series C round was led by Northpond Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, Sands Capital Ventures, Bill Maris’ Section 32 venture fund, and Borealis Ventures. Teckro’s total funding now stands at $43 million. The company provides technology to improve the speed and accuracy of clinical trials, working with the top pharmaceutical and biotech companies globally. Teckro has grown rapidly since it was founded by brothers Gary and Nigel Hughes and Jacek Skrzypiec in 2015. The founders sold their previous company, Firecrest, to global clinical research giant ICON plc in 2011. Teckro is used in clinical research sites around the world in all major countries. There has been a 240% increase in the number of clinical trials on the Teckro platform over the past 12 months. The company employs more than 100 staff across its three global bases, including its global headquarters in Limerick, Ireland, its engineering hub in Dublin, Ireland and its US office in Nashville, Tennessee.  Speaking on the funding announcement, CEO and co-founder Gary Hughes said the company will use the Series C round to further the company’s mission to deliver solutions that deliver meaningfully impact and improve processes for all stakeholders involved in clinical trials. “Despite all the talk of digital transformation, the actual experience of participating in a clinical trial if you are a doctor, research nurse or patient has changed little in the last 20 years. The industry still relies heavily on paper, on working off retrospective data, and there is still an over-reliance on sending CRAs to busy research sites. This approach, together with the plethora of point solutions that get ‘bolted on’, only adds to the complexity and disjointed experience of research sites and patients. Our vision is to be at the center of all site and patient interactions in a clinical trial. We are building a new digital infrastructure and toolset for clinical research that makes the conduct of trials simpler, more transparent and more inclusive. Ultimately Teckro is about ensuring that effective drugs are efficiently and effectively moved from the lab to the patient so that lives be saved.” Michael Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Northpond Ventures commented: “Teckro is building a digital infrastructure that can transform how clinical trials are conducted. We are excited by the team and what they have achieved to date and look forward to supporting them on this important mission.”
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